Display Ideas for Nativity


The nativity scene illustrates the birth of Christ. Nativity sets vary greatly in size and number of pieces depending on how elaborately you choose to arrange the design. The pieces in the set can be displayed in a variety of styles, with the exception of the arrangement of baby Jesus, the Virgin Mary and Joseph since they are the central characters of the story and should be central in your arrangement.

Uplight & Silhouettes

  • Order black cardboard cutouts of the biblical characters from the nativity story. Arrange the cutouts in three rows with the smallest cutouts positioned towards the front and taller figures towards the back. Using small uplights, place a spot light in front on each cutout. Adjust the spotlight so that it is slightly angled to avoid glares on the edges of the cardboard. This design works best on a flat surface.

Fireplace Display

  • Purchase a tabletop nativity set and arrange it in an empty fireplace. You can line the empty area around the nativity set with hay or pine straw to give it the look of an empty manger. Place two candlesticks in candle holders in each corner of the back of the fireplace. These candles will give the nativity scene a soft natural glow. If you prefer that the nativity set be completely lit, you can place votives with tea lights in the front corners of the fireplace. Attach Christmas lights around the edge of the fireplace.

Pulpit Display

  • Using the stair in the pulpit of your church, you can display a small nativity set with multiple levels. Take a large piece of brown burlap and drape it over the step. Leave large folds around the edges of the cloth to create texture. Sprinkle hay around the center of the cloth. Place your nativity scene figurines in the center of the cloth and along the bottom of the stairs. This display works best with the most important characters at the center and animals, angels, etc. along the outskirts of the display. Place miniature Christmas trees with white lights around the peripheral of your display to create a forest around the manger.

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  • Photo Credit nativity image by enens from Fotolia.com
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